A year in the making: Thanksgiving turkey stories

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by chickenannie, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    I was sad to send my 10 BR turkeys off to the butcher on Monday, but pleased at how they looked and weighed in, once processed and dressed and bagged and labeled. And, I'm happy knowing they will grace someone's Thanksgiving meal tommorrow. One of them, a big tom, was hard to hold while I was catching him off the roost in the pre-dawn hours and putting him in the truck, and he flapped his wing hard and it gave me a bruise on my forehead (of all places). I decided the bruise was symbolic and was to keep me conscious of the reality of butchering such wonderful creatures.

    Even just 10 turkeys is a lot of work to raise ... I think back to the past 10 months of care -- last February finding a new BR tom for a breeder was not easy (my last tom was killed by a fox); preparing nesting areas for the hens; wondering if it was OK to let my lame hen sit on a nest (she did great); trying to keep the hens from running off to nest elsewhere (one nested in a huge briar patch down by the creek and successfully hatched poults despite it being fox territory, though I saw signs that she'd been attacked one time and for the remainder of the summer was missing all her tail feathers but one!); keeping the tiny fragile poults safe and healthy and juggling their living quarters from nest, to cage, to free-range, to joining the larger social group; to watching the hens with their incredible mothering ability as they sacrifice themselves under any circumstance to be guard and barrier to dangers against their babies; to the humorousness of turkey behavior and all the times we bonded with the friendly birds; to having to rush home from work to lock the turkey coop for the night; to keeping the turkeys from fighting too much or chasing the poor wild bunnies around the pasture; to calling the dog officer on a neighbor whose dog repeatedly came to my farm and "hunted" my turkeys and killed several; to worrying they weren't going to be fat enough for Thanksgiving; to mentally accepting that these birds I spent so much time with were going to be killed this week; to accepting that fact and trying to be conscious of my actions (instead of being numb to the death of living creatures); to delivering them; to hearing from a customer that my dressed turkeys looked much better than those of a big "gourmet" turkey distributor. It's been a long year, and a heck of a lot of work!

    Thank you all you BYC turkey-raisers out there (Ivan, Steve, Marlin and others) for answering all my many questions over the past 2 years...

    I hope that all makes sense... I wanted to share all these trials and tribulations and enjoyment I've had with my turkeys...since this seems like an appropriate day... and would love hearing other stories too...

    Happy thanksgiving!
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009

  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Have always enjoyed reading your posts as well. You're a tougher bird with a better heart than I.

    No Thanksgiving story as poignant, or as well written, as yours.

    Just the numbers (my wt.): Thanksgiving of 2004 : Wt. 172lb.
    Thanksgiving of 2009: Wt. 148lb.

    We brought home our chooks and turks in the first half of 2005. So, the relationship has become symbiotic, i.e., they keep us more active than otherwise, we keep `em safe and fed. My Rheumatologist likes to take the credit, but it's the turks, in particular, that account for improving my `elasticity'.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  3. cwhit590

    cwhit590 Songster

    Nov 6, 2008
    SW Michigan
    Thanks for sharing chickenannie. I would like to raise heritage turkeys in the future....it helps to hear from others about what all is involved! [​IMG]
  4. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Songster

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    Nice to hear of your turkeys. We plan to raise a few next year! Maybe I can learn from :)you!

  5. Thanks for sharing Annie. Raising turkeys can be everything from a major pain to the greatest ever and everything in between. I wouldn't trade them for anything. We spend many hours sitting out back watching "turkey vision". [​IMG]

    Everybody loves a turkey

    Steve in NC
  6. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Thanks, everyone! I should probably add that I'm not the most "system-minded" person... meaning that my turkey pens are not set up that well and I could probably improve on a lot of efficiencies if I had the know-how and the carpentry skills. I'm sure some of the amazing carpenters on BYC would have come up with an easier method of pens etc. than I did and save themselves some of the hassles.

    Happy T-Day everybody!
  7. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Quote:That's great... turks for health therapy!! They really do keep you active with all their antics... I'm glad they've helped keep you elastic!

    Are the numbers your total weight of processed birds? Or are you trying to say you lost weight taking care of them! [​IMG]

  8. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    No Thanksgiving turkey on the dinner table for us this year. Turkey Lurkey got a reprieve - we've been invited out! He's still too young, anyway. He will be more like a Valentine's Day turkey.
  9. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    Thanks for shareing, and putting into words. I know how you feel, and I thought we talked each other through this. Did you remember to Hug your Tom this smorning, and tell him maybe next year. [​IMG]

  10. babymakes6

    babymakes6 Gifted

    Feb 24, 2009
    far west Ohio
    Thanks for sharing! This year we are having a store-bought turkey, but I have a 4-month-old hen and a 7-month-old tom (RPs) out in my chicken house right now. I am planning to raise turkeys next year, and I am really looking forward to it! I don't know if I will be able to kill them, but I can butcher (I enjoy that part).

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